I often look at newborns in amusement and wonder what were are thinking about. Never did I stop for a moment to think about the complex wiring of the brain. It is known that the complete development of the brain is necessary for the normal physical and mental processes of a person but I wrongly assumed that such development is completed before birth.
It is interesting to know that Dr. Harry Chugani, a pediatric neurobiologist at Wayne State University amazing has provided a glimpse inside an infant’s head. We are able to see activities such retinal neuron making connection to visual cortex and the release of neurotransmitter brain chemical as the neuron from the ear carry electrical sound and connect to another neuron in the baby’s auditory cortex. It is possible to see such chemical process of the brain by the use of PET (Position emission tomography). PET measures in detail the functioning of distinct area of the brain. Dr. Chugani is also able to show how a baby’s brain comes alive like the 4th of July. The sky is busy with fireworks and so is a baby’s brain with brain stems and sensory cortex activities. Sparkling is the visual cortex which happens within the 2nd and 3rd month and up to six to eight month the frontal cortex. These signs tell that a baby’s brain is still developing. We tend to believe that the only thing happening outside the womb it growth. With such intricate delicate activities going on within the skull, it is a good thing that we were taught to always protect a newborn’s head even if it was for the wrong reason.
The brain is widely studied and as early as fifteen years ago the study Rethinking the Brain made public by Families and Work institute, Neuro-Scientists thought that by birth the brain is genetically determined but while trying to unlock the mystery of the brain scientist found out that early childhood experiences helps to shape the brain circuit. There are billions and trillions of neuron and synapses at work but still personality is not set. Shaping us are genetic and experience and the saying use it or lose it is more concrete than we think because the same way memory can fade which is call pruning so can synapses if they are not used. Craig Ramey from the University of Alabama discovered that a person has to be stimulated with relevant stimulation. Surprisingly activities that preserve synapses are as simple as playing blocks, bead and peek-a-boo.
Activities within the head are like unseen milestones. They happen in stages and in different parts of the brain. Among other milestones is the peaking of visual cortex at about three months and at nine month the hippocampus which is responsible for memories become fully functional. The completion of these internal milestones helps to prepare the child for the environment. At t his point the child becomes like a sponge ready to absorb everything it comes into contact with. Patricia Kuhl of the University of Washington studies the auditory...